I often listen to Catholic apologisst like Jimmy Akin, Tim Staples etc. on Catholic Answers podcast. These guys have obviously spent a great deal of time and effort studying Catholic doctrine but they are not ordained. They answer thousands and thousands of call-in questions. How do we know their answers are correct and what gives them the right to give all these “answers”?
They study and follow their God-given call to evangelize. All people are called to participate in the offices of priest, prophet, and king.
How do you know if an apologist is authentic or not? You take responsibility for your formation. Read, learn, listen. Trust the Church. Are apologists in line with Church teaching? Do they reference solid sources?
You have a responsibility to invest yourself.
What gives each of us the right to answer questions here on the Catholic Answers Forums, @KevinK?
The answer is that you don’t know if what these radio personalities are sayings is correct. One good reason not to listen.
Just because someone is ordained doesn’t mean they will always have the correct answer.
Yes they do isn’t it amazing. I think the fact that they are able to answer these 1000’s of questions should be seen as evidence that they are reliable.
Think about it this way. Have you ever heard them contradict themselves, or each other, on a particular topic? Quite often they are answering the same questions over and over again. If you can’t this is at least evidence that what they teach is grounded in something.
From their you can take what they say and figure out what it is grounded in. For instance the Catechism of the Catholic Church, Catholic Encyclopedia, etc…
On a final note, I have been listening to them for years and I have noticed when they are giving their personal opinion on a particular subject that usually tell the audience ahead of time that they are doing so. If you’ve ever listened to Called to Communion, I’ve heard Dr. Anders repeat it like 4 times when he isn’t conveying official Church teaching. This way everyone knows what he is about to say is opinion only and you are free to take it or leave it.
In the end we do not follow them blindly. We should double check what they say. Once we become familiar with them and are comfortable that they are reliable teachers they have earned our trust.
Hope this helps.
Would you tell someone don’t go to the doctor for that ailment because you don’t know if what they tell you to do will be correct?
Of course you don’t know, YET. But just like with the doctor you can check what they say and teach and find out for yourself if what they say is correct.
If you hear something questionable, you can look into it yourself. One good reason to listen is that we need to keep learning the faith—for our own sake, to evangelize others, and to defend it.
So if someone could possibly be wrong you won’t listen to them and consider what they say? Do you never go to a physician because hey, doctors can be wrong?
In regards to Tim Staples, he spent many years in the Seminary after he converted. He ultimately decided he “wasn’t called to bring people the Eucharist, but to bring people to the Eucharist.”
Jimmy Akin was an ordained Protestant minister, so before becoming Catholic, he had plenty of Biblical training. Also, for a Protestant minister to convert, it usually requires a ton of academic research on their part.
Finally, they are fact checked. Catholic Answers prides itself in being the best in apologetics, so they take great strides in making sure they are correct.
This is just plain wrong. The two of them give orthodox answers all the time, and solid answers.
While I have heard of Jimmy Akin providing a few answers that were partly confusing, Tim Staples’ answers are always solid and awesome.
As someone else said, ordination isn’t a magic bullet for making someone really good at apologetics. Many priests are middling-to-bad at that. For diocesan priests, their main job is not to be an apologetics expert but rather to give the sacraments to the faithful and to be reasonably competent at addressing the basic questions that come up over and over, which would probably be the same questions that come up on this forum over and over (like, if God is all-powerful and loving then why does evil exist in the world, why does he let little children die, how can I know if my dead loved one went to Heaven etc.) Diocesan priests also usually don’t have a lot of time to spend sitting around studying apologetics. I can see priests who are members of orders, or are specifically tasked with studying theology or apologetics, becoming more expert at it, and in fact there are a number of clergy experts.
The good thing about apologists like Scott Hahn or Jimmy Akin is that they have the background and knowledge to respond to Protestant concerns and kind of speak in Protestants’ own language. Most of us cradle Catholics, including many priests, are lacking in understanding of those. My eyes just glaze over when people start arguing about stuff like “justification”.
As for “how do we know their answers are correct”, they’re high-profile enough that if Jimmy Akin really said something wrong, 5 other apologists would jump in and correct him. Similar to what happens on this forum when a regular poster makes some boo-boo. 5 other regular posters will correct him. Crowdsourcing helps things be more correct. You should also be constantly learning and growing yourself so you can better judge for yourself the quality of someone’s answer, whether it’s Jimmy Akin, Cardinal Burke, or Bishop Barron.
Yet you’ll ask questions on this forum and listen to responses from us anonymous responders…many of whom probably learned about the subject being discussed by reading a Tim Staples or Jimmy Akin or Scott Hahn or other similar reference…
Catholic Answers is a service provided by the Diocese of San Diego. Which apologists, specifically, have you found to be unreliable?
Then don’t. No one is required to listen to the show.
They have the patience of saints in the manner in which they communicate with sometimes hostile callers who are anti-Catholic. I never cease to be amazed by this.
I am Protestant and think the Catholic apologists on EWTN do a great job and are very knowledgeable. I’ve called in and spoken to David Anders (I mistakenly called him Dr Andrews ) and Jimmy Akin, both of whom thoroughly answered my questions to my satisfaction and seemed to know where I was coming from. I was respectful and they reciprocated. They are a credit to Catholic radio, in my opinion.
Honestly they answer thousands of questions, but not thousands of different questions. Many many duplicate questions in there I bet.
This topic was automatically closed 14 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.